Website builders like Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly attract users based on convenience. They make it easy to build an eye-catching site, but they don’t necessarily help your website perform well. Instead of building a site yourself, hire a website designer or website developer who understands what it takes to build a website from scratch with strong website speed, performance, and SEO. Here’s everything you should know about website builders, why you should stay away from them, and what you should do instead.
Why You Need a Website
1. Websites Enhance Credibility
Did you know that 84 percent of today’s consumers think a website makes a business more credible? After learning about your company, the first thing most people will do is Google search you. Having a website pop up with all your information, certifications, and awards helps potential customers feel confident that they’ve found the right business.
2. Websites Are Professional
Websites are a professional way to showcase your products and services. You can display your offerings with high-quality photography and connect with customers in an online avenue. Many companies like to model their website after the type of atmosphere they’d create for customers in-person.
3. Websites Provide Social Proof
There is no doubt that websites provide social proof. Social proof is defined as a psychological and social phenomenon referring to people’s reliance on the feedback and actions of others to determine what is right and wrong in each situation. While the concept of social proof isn’t new, both the internet and social media have enhanced the accessibility to and effectiveness of social proof.
Today, social proof allows companies to take advantage of external validation from past customers. Most businesses rely on social proof in the form of customer reviews. When you have your own website, you can publish customer reviews, for example your Google Reviews, and highlight positive experiences at key points.
4. Websites Encourage a Relationship Between Companies and Customers
Websites serve as a central point of contact for companies. If a customer is wondering how to reach out to a business, they can head to the website for contact information. Most businesses will put their information in the header or footer of all pages of their website so it’s readily available. Many websites will also implement an on-site contact form that protect your business email from spam. No need to give out personal information!
5. Websites are an Area for Self-Expression
Perhaps you’re not a business at all. Maybe you want a website because you see it as an area for your own self-expression. You want to publish your blog writing or display your artwork. You don’t have any intention of selling your work, but you’d like to connect with others on the internet, and a website is a perfect way to do this.
Why Website Builders Hurt Your Company
As noted above, every business needs a website, but not all websites are created equally. Your main goal when creating a website is getting it in front of other people’s eyes (whether you’re looking for customers or not). People are able to find your website when it has good SEO and performs well on search engines like Google. While site builders may look aesthetically pleasing on the front end of the website, website builders negatively impact your SEO ranking.
Here are 10 reasons why website builders hurt your company…
1. Website Builders Don’t Permit Technical SEO Customization
Site builders like Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, etc. don’t allow you to customize for SEO. The backend of these sites are messy because they add extra strings to certain URLs, have limited h-tags, don’t allow users to access or customize sitemaps, and don’t have canonical tags.
If you’ve never built and designed a website, you may not think this is a big deal. You may think, “Well, I just need to have a website. Once I have one, I can worry about that.”
Unfortunately, these types of issues make a huge difference when it comes to SEO and others’ ability to find your website. If you’re going through the process of creating your own website, you’ll want the ability to do basic SEO yourself as well. Don’t put yourself in a box by using a website builder.
2. Website Builders Often Use Flash
Flash is a technology owned by Adobe that’s used to show animation on web pages. It can make a website attractive because it shows photos in a slideshow. However, text in a Flash website cannot be read by search engines. Thus, Google recommends against it because it won’t help your website rank.
3. Website Builders Limit Designs To One Page
Website builders often employ a one-page model. This means all the contents sits on the same webpage in a long-scrolling layout. Although Flash may make it appear like the site has multiple pages, you don’t. This decreases your SEO because it decreases the amount of content that Google can crawl and means fewer searchers and traffic.
4. Website Builders Lack Branding
When you use a site builder, your website is likely to have a URL using the following format: www.username.wix.com/sitename. This website URL is far from professional, and it’s cumbersome to use for business purposes. Who’d want to put that on a business card?
5. Website Builders are Inundated with Ads
Free site builders always have ads. Because you aren’t paying to use the website, they’re able to use your site to advertise themselves or others that pay them for that space. Not only is ugly and annoying, but it affects the way your visitors will view your website. Seeing the big “THIS SITE WAS CREATED WITH WIX.COM. CREATE YOUR OWN FOR FREE!” banner ruins the aesthetic of a professional website.
6. Website Builders Aren’t Unique
Wix offers its users a few hundred templates, and they’re at the upper end of the website builder market. With 200 million users, there’s very likely a site out there that looks like yours. When there are only so many options, you can’t differentiate from your competitors.
7. Website Builders Don’t Offer Support
It may sound great to have a free site. Yet, paying a nominal fee to a web developer has its perks. If you’re inexperienced with website design, you’ll likely need support at some point throughout the process. What happens when you need support and no one is there to assist you?
Some website builders offer monthly packages that include support options, but at those rates, you could pay for a brand-new site without any of the issues above.
We Deliver Web Design offers on-going maintenance for clients, learn more about our website maintenance plans here.
8. Website Builders Don’t Export Websites
If you build your site on Wix or Weebly with the intention of getting a foundation and then decide to add an eCommerce feature or enhance your SEO, you’ll be sorely disappointed. These features often aren’t available, and you won’t be able to export your site to a different platform like WordPress. On the other hand, you CAN export your website with WordPress. So what are your options? Either stick with your current site that isn’t serving you or scrap it altogether.
Can you imagine having to rebuild your website and any SEO you may have had? It’s a time-consuming and frustrating fix, to say the least!
9. Website Builders Provide Inaccurate Advice
Site builders like Wix offer the following SEO advice that can be misleading to website owners. One example is investing in a custom logo, which doesn’t impact SEO at all. Another is including keywords as often as possible. While keywords do help SEO, if you include them as often as possible, this is referred to as “keyword stuffing.” This means you load up a webpage with keywords or numbers trying to manipulate the site’s ranking, and Google will penalize websites for doing this if they identify it.
10. Website Builders Hide Complexities
Site development can be a complex process. Most people want to simplify it, so it’s easy and digestible. Unfortunately, there are some complicated aspects regarding website design that you must understand to make your site successful.
One example of this on Wix is page titles. Google considers the structure of page titles and what they tell about a page for SEO. Yet, Wix’s settings don’t necessarily reflect this importance.
When you can’t see the complexities related to your site, you’re at a distinct disadvantage. You should be able to see what Google sees.
Alternatives to Website Builders
Website builders are built on a free model. They primarily make money off the ads that are likely to annoy you and website visitors. They aren’t concerned about your business, its value, or your success. Nor are they required to help you if you’re using one of their free plans.
Although it may feel expensive to hire a website developer, think of this as a one-time investment. It’s much better to have a stellar website that you can continue to build on than a mediocre website that isn’t helping you make any progress.
WordPress Sites Make it Easy
As a website owner, you want something easy. If you’re seeking website development (but not maintenance), then you’ll want a site that’s highly accessible and easy to use. After your web developer and designer have completed the work, you’ll likely be in charge of any upkeep. This maintenance can include:
- Adding text or images
- Inserting new pages
- Uploading your latest blog
- Editing your site to update your visitors
A WordPress site can be edited quickly and effectively in just seconds. You won’t need the support of a web designer to edit your site; although, you can outsource this task if desired. This type of site can also be edited by multiple users or from a mobile device.
WordPress Sites Are SEO Friendly
If you’re going to create a site, make sure it’s SEO friendly. WordPress sites have clear navigation and concise coding, which makes them easy for search engines like Google to crawl. When a website publishes information, Google will send crawlers to the website to collect data and pick over the entire website’s content. Google then stores the information in a databank for inclusion in search results. Crawling can take a few days to a few weeks after a website is published. Having a crawlable site means that your site has organized content that can be easily discovered by search engines.
Site builders make it more difficult for Google to crawl your site and help you show up in search engines (let alone rank on the first page!). This is primarily due to the way they’re coded. Sites built on Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace also have fewer pages, and more pages mean more content and more links to help you rank.
WordPress Sites Allow You To Work With a Web Developer
WordPress was released in 2003, and since then, it’s become known as the top website builder. Because of this, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a developer who doesn’t know how to work in WordPress. If you start with a WordPress site, you never have to worry about working with an agency or individual who isn’t familiar with the builder. Conversely, if you created a bespoke site with a smaller and lesser-known platform, then you may feel tied to the developer who made it for you.
WordPress has a special feature that allows you to share access with your web designer. As the website owner, you can set up a new user account and enter their information, so they have their own login information to use.
What a website looks like on the front end is no indication of how it’s built on the back end. The backend of your website determines how your website will perform and whether it has strong SEO. Site builders like Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly won’t help your business grow.
Invest in your website today! If you’re ready to create a user-friendly WordPress site, reach out to We Deliver Web Design today.